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American Ultra: Movie Review


Director: Nima Nourizedah

Studio: Lionsgate | Genre: Action, Comedy | MPAA: R
Release Date: August 21st, 2015

American Ultra is a movie about a grimy stoner couple who are somehow tied into a CIA operation. Jesse Eisenberg plays Mike Howell, a small town loser boyfriend who spends his days stoned and working at a local convenient store doodling comics. Mike can’t seem to get over a phobia that prevents him from leaving town. The phobia most importantly interferes in his relationship with girlfriend, Phoebe Larson (Kristen Stewart). Besides his relationship Mike doesn’t have much going for him, even the local sheriffs know him by name.

American Ultra 1

Turns out these two small town loafs are more important than you think and the CIA wants them dead. As the story unravels it not only seems ridiculous but less and less interesting. The film has some cool cinematography that reminded me of Quentin Tarantino style with all the bloody gore. It was interesting to see that the director Nima Nourizadeh used the same hand held rigid camera style from his other film Project X (2012). The style works well for this film because of all the action and movement involved. There were some scenes that were hard to follow due its style— the camera movement moving at times a little too fast for the viewers to focus on what the character just did. It was the story mainly that made it hard to focus, very predictable, the audience could’ve used more suspense. They should have turned it into a zombie apocalypse film, it seemed to have a lot of Zombieland (2009) influence. I mean it even has the same actor playing the same character in a very similar situation.

AU2Lastly, as how all of my reviews go, where does this film stand in social issues? Well I was happy to see John Leguizamo in the film, I just wished he wasn’t casted as the stereotypical “Latino Thug” along with his character’s friends— the only other people of color who were in the film. The film reminds us of how much more important to society white lives are. Think about how this story would have gone if Mike Howell were a black male. What sort of out come would of his experiences been with the police and government?